Doña Ana County Bomb Squad Places First in National Robot Robot
LAS CRUCES — The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb Squad brought home the top prize in the 2012 Western National Robot Rodeo.
The five-member team competed last week against eight other bomb squads from all over New Mexico and New Jersey. The competition was held at Los Alamos National Labs, which rotates annually with Sandia Labs for hosting duties. This is the second year the sheriff’s department has competed in the rodeo.
“Last year, we got second place, so it was very rewarding to bring home a first-place trophy to Doña Ana County,” said Deputy Garth Pirtle, who manned the joystick in several of the events.
Bomb squads were put through eleven different exercises, ranging from live demolition shots to making a ham sandwich. Each exercise had to be done using a remote-controlled robot.
All robot rodeo events were timed, and utilized one of two robots in the Doña Ana County Bomb Squad arsenal: the Remotec, referred to as the “big robot,” and the HD1.
“The rodeo is really a demonstration of a bomb squad’s ability and agility in using technology in unknown, high-risk situations,” said Pirtle. “When we’re called in to assist in potentially explosive situations, or to negotiate with a barricaded subject, it is better to put a machine in harm’s way than a human life.”